Friday, 6 July 2012


There have been cases of injustice thrust upon innocent people all over the world and probably from the beginning of Man’s entry into this world. Space doesn’t permit me to list all the cases of injustices committed world-wide but I will give my readers some of them that took place in the United States. It is a sad reflection of our era that a nation like the United States that believes in justice for all has so many cases of injustice thrust upon so many of its innocent citizens but I suppose a nation that has over 313 million citizens can never hope to be free of injustices thrust on its innocent citizens.

 Please keep in mind that some states may have more wrongdoings by officials simply because their populations are greater than others.

Arizona: When a jailhouse snitch seeking a deal on charges against her accused Robert Louis Armstrong of a 1998 triple murder, Armstrong met willingly with Maricopa County investigators. He knew he had been in Oregon when the murders occurred. A cop put a clip on Armstrong's shirt and then told him that the clip was part of a "sensitivity test" and would tell the police when he was lying. Armstrong was charged with 3 counts of capital murder. A determined public defender investigator found Armstrong's bus ticket and the bogus case began to unravel. He was later found not guilty.

 As an interesting aside, many years ago, I spoke with the father of a murdered girl who told me that when the police arrested the suspect, they placed on the top of a copy machine a sheet of paper that had the words, NOT TRUE. Every time he denied killing the girl, the police pushed the button of the copy machine and out came a sheet of paper with the words NOT TRUE. He was so convinced that the machine was a new form of lie detector, he finally confessed to the murder.

Arizona: It was a breathtaking abuse of the United States Constitution. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik, used the grand jury authority to subpoena "all the documents related to articles and other content published by Phoenix New Times newspaper in print and on the Phoenix New Times website, regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio from January 1, 2004 to the present." More alarming still, Arpaio, Thomas, and Wilenchik subpoenaed detailed information on anyone who even looked at the New Times web site since 2004. He was taking a sledgehammer to the US Constitution to find ways to stop the authorities from investigating his conduct as a sheriff.

Arizona: Twice named prosecutor of the year, former Pima County prosecutor Kenneth Peasley had been disbarred by the Arizona Supreme Court for knowingly eliciting perjured testimony in the 1993 capital murder trials of Andre Minnitt and Christopher McCrimmon, and again in Minnitt's 1997 retrial. That is one of the the consequences of perjury.

Arizona: A woman convicted of killing her husband of 17 years was cleared of murder after the Pima County Attorney's Office admitted its prosecutor intentionally withheld documents that could have helped her case. At the request of Pima County defence attorney Barbara LaWall, Superior Court Judge Virginia Kelly dismissed Carolyn June Peak's case with prejudice, meaning she can never be tried for her husband's death again.

California: As Michael Gressett waited for a jury verdict in a molestation trial, the Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor had what he called a "nooner," bringing a fellow prosecutor to his Martinez home for intercourse. What happened next, on May 8, 2008, is the subject of an explosive rape case brought by the state attorney general. It involves a gun and an ice pick, but rests on a simple question that Gressett often asks juries to decide: Was the sex consensual or forced?

California. Herbie Gonzalez of Los Angeles, CA spent 196 days in jail after being framed by two sheriff's investigators, Katherine Gallagher and Randy Seymour, who didn't hesitate to perjure themselves to make murder, robbery and residential burglary charges stick. When Judge Cary Nishimoto dismissed the charges because Herbie's "confession" was clearly coerced, Detectives Gallagher and Seymour implied that the man they accused got off on a "technicality." And when the real killer, Milton Gallardo, was identified by DNA, Gallagher and Seymour had the audacity to claim that Herbie was "somehow" involved in the crime. Their claim to being good investigators is to never admit that you were wrong.

California: Contending that a top local prosecutor repeatedly sought to subvert justice, the state bar recommended that Ben Field, a deputy district attorney be suspended from practicing law for four years — a punishment that would be fitting against the Santa Clara County deputy district attorney. Defense lawyer Jamie Harmon who was also facing a trial in late October, 2008 on a 20-count state bar complaint, accusing her of neglecting the cases of some criminal defendants and misrepresenting what would happen to other clients if they pleaded guilty without going to trial. Further, the 6th District Court of Appeals had overturned several convictions in recent months after finding errors by Santa Clara County judges in their conduct of cases including four cases in in previous six months that were presided over by Judge Paul Bernal. Later, the California State Bar Court appellate panel upheld a four-year suspension for former Santa Clara County prosecutor Benjamin Field. despite an amicus curiae brief from the California District Attorneys Association warning of a chilling effect on prosecutions. Does it seem odd that Field’s fellow prosecutors would ask that Field be given a break? Not really.

California: In Bakersfield, the crime lab is part of the DA's office. There is no "firewall" between the prosecution side and the science side of the office. This obviously creates a conflict of interest that the prosecutor said in an uncaring manner to the jury, "So what?" That conflict of interest issue came to a head in a recent case in which a lawyer, Daniel Willsey, stood charged with causing the death of Joe Hudnall, a local deputy by driving under the influence of methamphetamine and causing Hudnall to crash. Defense attorneys had learned that testing of the defendant's blood was conducted by a lab analyst who is a close friend of the dead deputy's family. Oops. But wait—there's even more. When Daniel Willsey's defense attorneys went back to court to argue motions related to mishandling of the evidence by the DA office's crime lab, he was extremely disappointed and rightly so. It seems that the crime lab had "inadvertently" destroyed the sample of Willsey's blood that the lab claimed tested positive for methamphetamines. Does this mean that the DA wanted to make sure Willsey's defense attorneys couldn’t have a private lab to test the sample? Is the pope a catholic? The answers to both questions are the same.

California: A federal appeals court removed a controversial judge, U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real of Los Angeles, from another case, accusing him this time of "excessive and biased interventions" that denied two defendants a fair trial. Was his actions simply stupidity or was it done for the purpose of getting a verdict to his own liking?

 California: The Orange County case against James Ochoa for robbing three restaurant workers was tainted at every level: police misconduct in manipulating the victims' identification of James and misrepresenting the responses of a police tracking dog; efforts by the DA's office to bully crime lab scientists into lying about the DNA exclusion of James as the robber; and the inexcusable conduct of Judge Robert Fitzgerald in extorting a guilty plea from James by threatening him with life in prison. Don’t even get a parking ticket in that county especially if you get involved with any one of that unholy trio.

 California: Kern County DA Ed Jagels put two dozen innocent people behind bars on charges that they molested their own kids. During their trials, he ignored evidence that his own friends were throwing orgies with teenage boys. So why is one of America's most reckless prosecutors still in power? It’s all political. The voters don’t care as long as this prosecutor goes after child molesters with a sledge hammer even if he makes terrible mistakes.

 California: A Huntington Beach police officer's exoneration for planting a loaded gun in a suspect's car has led to the revelation that police routinely plant evidence in unsuspecting civilians' vehicles for training exercises. Poliuce in that community have also admitted toi planting evidence in their zeal to convict their suspects.

 California: The California Highway Patrol is investigating claims that two of its officers were pressured to lie on the witness stand in a lawsuit brought about by a Ramona man who was awarded $4.5 million for false arrest etc., by a jury in April, 2004.

California: Superior Court Judge William Danser of California's Santa Clara County was found guilty on all counts in his obstruction of justice trial. The judge was convicted of improperly dismissing 20 traffic tickets for professional athletes and acquaintances, and of transferring two DUI (Drive while Under the Influence) cases to himself so he could hand out lenient sentences to them.

 California: On December 4, 2003, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the State of California to release Thomas Lee Goldstein without bail after finding that 24 years ago, prosecutors had denied him a fair trial. But the California corrections authorities ignored the Court and had kept Goldstein in custody. On January 30, 2004, the judges repeated their original order, putting in capital letters their directive for Goldstein's "IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM CUSTODY." Now the dummies in the Corrections Department got the message. The judge should have added the words “OR ELSE.”

California: Thirteen years ago, when he was a homicide detective, San Francisco Police Chief Earl Sanders hid evidence (the real killer's confession) that proved that John Tennison and Antoine Goff were innocent of killing Roderick Shannon. Tennison and Goff went to prison for the crime. Sanders' duplicity helped take him to the top of the heap. Now a federal judge has overturned those convictions and pinned the blame squarely where it belongs, Police Chief Earl Sanders. On August 12, 2003, the chief
retired after nearly four decades on the force because of health problems resulting from his criminal indictment in the politically charged case.

California: In 1991, Rick Walker of Santa Clara County, was convicted of murder, thanks to an amoral trial prosecutor willing to trade truth for a deal with a liar and a near-vegetative defense attorney. Thanks to a rugged defense attorney and an honest prosecutor, Rick Walter was freed and declared factually innocent.

California: In March of 2002, LAPD Det. William Douglass was caught by the presiding judge of submitting phony fingerprint test results in an attempted murder case. The judge dismissed the charge and issued a stinging 8-page opinion against Det. Douglass. Douglass wasn't charged with anything by the Los Angeles Police Department because after all, he is a police officer.

California: A grand jury has indicted the San Francisco police chief, the assistant chief, two deputy chiefs and six police officers on charges of conspiring to obstruct justice.

California: Steven Wallen didn’t respond when two El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies (Matt Underhill and Rich Marshall) told him to get off his motorcycle. He eventually paid for his resistance with his life. He got off the bike and tried to side-step the officers. They shot him. Two bullets from large-caliber bullets were shot into his chest and to make sure he was dead, another was shot into his head. About a month and a half after the incident, El Dorado County District Attorney Gary Lacy announced that he had reviewed the matter and determined that the shooting was not unlawful under California law. I don’t know what happened after that.

California: Gloria Killian had been imprisoned for 16 years after being convicted on the word of a snitch she barely knew who swore Gloria masterminded a 1981 robbery and murder in Sacramento, California. She was framed by a "thoroughly discredited" perjurer who in his own words—lied his ass off for the government in exchange for a reduced sentence. The prosecutor concealed that information from the jury. Killian's convictionm for murder was reversed and she was set free.

California: What happens if you're a prosecutor and you get caught altering key evidence (in the state's favor, of course) in a capital murder trial? If you cry alligator tears and tell the judge you're sorry, then not much. LA Asst. District Attorney Michael Duarte's wrist must be stinging from the slapping it got for altering evidence but that is all he got.

 California: A defense lawyer's suit against Los Angeles District Attorney Stephen Cooley for fabricating evidence and filing false charges against him was reinstated July 17, 2001 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It is a further demarcation between absolute and qualified immunity, as the unanimous panel held that allegations of false reports or any investigations done by a prosecutor before probable cause exists can be grounds for a civil suit.

 California: After Herman Atkins was convicted of raping a woman in a town he had never visited and had never even heard of, he fought a 13 year battle to regain his freedom. With the help of the Cardozo Innocence Project, he sought release of the physical evidence, and met the stiffest opposition yet from the DA's battle to keep him from obtaining DNA evidence that could clear him. Why would a prosecutor keep DNA evidence from a defense lawyer when the law states that all evidence in the possession of the district attorney must be shared with the defense?

Further, a coalition of national nonprofit groups had asked the Justice Department to investigate and suspend FBI employee Danny Miller, who was found by a jury to have falsified evidence against Herman Atkins, a man who served 12 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA evidence.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since the mid-nineteen-seventies a hundred and seventeen death-row inmates have been released as innocent persons. Defense lawyers, often relying on DNA testing, have shown repeatedly how shoddy crime-lab work, lying informants, and mistaken eyewitness identifications, among other factors, led to unjust convictions. But DNA tests don’t reveal how innocent people come to be prosecuted in the first place. This can also be laid on the shoulders of crooked and negligent police investigators and prosecutors.

No comments: